English cricket bosses have vowed to investigate claims they failed to pursue allegations of racism at Essex that were lodged three years ago.
John Faragher has resigned as Essex chairman, following a claim that he used racist language at a board meeting in 2017.
Faragher stepped down despite strongly denying the incident, but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will now examine suggestions the matter was raised with the governing body in 2018.
Essex have pledged a full review into the allegations, but the ECB could also have further questions to answer.
An ECB spokesperson said: “There is absolutely no place for racism or any form of discrimination in our game.
“The England and Wales Cricket Board opened an investigation into Essex County Cricket Club after receiving an allegation involving John Faragher, who has subsequently resigned as the club chair. The ECB is taking this allegation extremely seriously.
“Alongside our investigation we are looking into concerns that the allegation was initially raised with us in 2018.”
This incident is the latest storm to engulf cricket with Yorkshire still dealing with the aftermath of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of institutional racism at Headingley.
England captain Joe Root referenced the ongoing investigation at his home club on Thursday with a statement and short press conference before Mark Arthur resigned from his role as chief executive later in the day.
Yorkshire have already seen ex-chairman Roger Hutton leave and director of cricket Martyn Moxon has been signed off with a “stress-related illness”. First-team coach Andrew Gale is also currently suspended pending an investigation into offensive but unrelated historic tweets.
Essex’s new chief executive John Stephenson said: “There is no place for discrimination of any kind at Essex County Cricket Club.
“This is a proud club with a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and any form of discrimination and, as Essex Cricket’s new chief executive officer, I will not hesitate to uphold those principles and drive out any form of discrimination that is uncovered.”
Stephenson only took over day-to-day running of Essex in October and said he first found out about the alleged incident which involved Faragher this week.
He added: “I was made aware of this single allegation on Thursday having joined the club four weeks ago. The board met last night [Thursday] during which John Faragher’s resignation was unanimously accepted by the board.
“We are committed to working with the England & Wales Cricket Board to eradicate discrimination from the game.
“This is an important first step, but the club must now act further. Our internal reporting mechanisms will be reviewed to ensure that matters such as this are dealt with appropriately and immediately.
“I intend for those next actions to be communicated as soon as possible.”
The ECB’s investigation was opened after a complaint was initially taken up with the governing body.
This was not the case when Rafiq alleged institutional racism at Yorkshire, with the original complaint being taken up with the county and not the ECB.
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